In my 15 years as an optician, I have heard many concerns from patients about trying Progressive Add Lenses (PAL) for the first time. While it’s true, PAL’s can take some getting used to, there are ways to prepare yourself for a successful transition from single vision lenses to progressive lenses. Here are what I consider to be five keys to success:
- Understand what PALs are
PALs, also known as no-lined bifocals/trifocals, are lenses that feature the ability to effortlessly change your focal point from distance, to intermediate, to reading just by looking up or down with your eyes. Unlike a traditional lined bifocal, there is no visual segment or image jump, but a seamless progression in lens power. Most people will not even know you are wearing them.
- Select the right lens
Just like choosing a new car, there are hundreds of options available—including brand, features, and specialties. In my opinion, the perfect benchmark PAL does not exist. Having a conversation with your optician is imperative for the lens selection process.
An experienced optician will ask you the right questions regarding your lifestyle, hobbies, and work-life to help select the lens that best suits your needs.
For example, if you sit at a desk all day staring at computer screen, you might require a lens that has a wider intermediate range (arm’s length distance) for more comfort. Someone who is on their feet all day may need a lens that has a more defined distance area. Progressives are designed for the individual.
- Choose the best frame
Most likely, you will be wearing these PALs full time. It’s important you select a frame that is as comfortable as possible and, of course, looks good on you! Whether you prefer a conservative look or a bold statement, make sure the frame you select makes you feel confident.
- Dispensing (Receiving your new glasses)
Dispensing is a process that is very near and dear to my heart—the moment of truth, if you will. If you are a first-time PAL wearer, be certain that you are given proper instructions on how to use them. Training on very simple eye and head movements can make all of the difference in your adaptation to PALss. In most cases, it’s important that adjustments are made to the frame so that they rest comfortably (don’t be afraid to revisit your optician if they are not comfortable).
In addition, PALs specifically require precise position of wear measurements before manufacturing. This needs to be verified during the dispense.
- Practice, patience and positivity
PAL’s are a great investment. Have an open mind, give them a chance, and be proud of your new found versatility. Very seldom does a new PAL wearer immediately adapt. Try your best not to go back and forth between your old lenses and new. Wear them full time for at least a few days, and remember the wear instructions you were given at dispensing.
We as opticians understand that wearing PALs for the first time can be difficult and we encourage you to ask questions and revisit us if you are experiencing complications.